Start with the end in mind

Through the work of Kotter and other authors, we all know that at the start of a Transformation Programme, the Senior Leadership Team of an organisation must be clear about the Need for Change, the Programme Vision and the target performance and benefits which are required.

The Transformation is likely to be delivered through a series of projects and it is vital that there is good alignment between the overall Vision and Benefits and the Deliverables for each of the projects. In the rush to get the transformation underway it can be so easy for gaps to be created between the aims of the programme and the objectives of each project. Sadly these differences may not be identified until projects have been completed and are seen to be failing.

Let me illustrate this from an example.

I was involved in a business transformation programme that was aimed at delivering increased revenue for the organisation. Projects were established to develop new software products from which customers would purchase valuable information and this would deliver enhanced revenue. The projects were launched only when the Senior Leadership Team had approved a specific business case.

Experienced IT Project Managers were appointed for each project and for these type of managers the end of the project comes when the User Acceptance Testing is successfully completed ie the new product is shown to have met the business requirements agreed at the start. However once the early projects had been completed it was found that new sales were not forthcoming.

The problems were soon clear:

  1. The Sales Teams did not believe the new products were sellable. In practice they had not agreed the Requirements or a Marketing Plan.
  2. During the project there was little involvement of the sales, marketing and customer service teams responsible for selling and supporting the products and so no preparation before go-live.
  3. The IT Operations team were not prepared for supporting the live product eg hosting, maintenance, back-ups, security, capacity, monitoring.
  4. The finance team was unclear as to how to track the forecast benefits. Did they need to implement new tracking measures or would budget tracking be used?

The project managers delivered the new products but not the new organisation and services required to deliver new sales and enhanced revenue.

At the launch of new projects within a transformation programme, it is critical that time is taken to align the programme goals and targets with those for each of the projects.

When planning at project level, it is important that the following sequence is followed – from benefits determine the deliverables then scope followed by identifying people who need to be involved as project team members or stakeholders and finally decide on the approach.

To ensure that transformation projects deliver the targeted benefits the senior leader for each project must ensure that the first milestone is to review the project specification ensuring that there is a strong link between the completion of the deliverables and the achievement of the transforming performance.

Andrew Kearns
Hartswood Management Ltd
Delivering real transformation
www.hartswoodmanagement.co.uk

For advice on structuring your transformation or change programme please email andrewkearns@hartswoodmanagement.co.uk

For further insights please visit – www.hartswoodmanagement.co.uk/insights

Suggestions for further actions:

  1. Read Changing Spots – a systems approach to change management for details on leading change programmes (see www.changingspots.co.uk).
  2. Ask your Programme Manager to propose a project specification template (eg Prince 2 Project Brief and / or Project Initiation Document).
  3. Agree the standard steps for launching projects and approving the proposed specification so that you have a process for successfully launching transformation projects.

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